Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Film Director
Executive summary: Deep Red
Dario Argento is an Italian moviemaker known for his mastery of the horror genre. Unfairly little known beyond Europe, he is often called "the Italian Hitchcock", but he has said that his inspirations were Ingmar Bergman, the Brothers Grimm and Edgar Allan Poe.
Trademark elements in Argento's films include vivid colors, killer's point-of-view camera moves, a thundering synthesizer soundtrack, and characters likely to stupidly open doors or wander through basements despite the ominous music warning them not to. Plotlines are sometimes clichéd or perplexing, and viewers might respond with chuckles at cornball elements and typical genre set-ups, but audiences will almost invariably be scared and by the end terrified. When a killer's gloved hands are shown for dramatic effect, the hands are always the director's own, but in real life Argento is a vegetarian.
A film fanatic from an early age, he worked as a film critic for the Roman daily Paese Sera while he was still in high school. He was mentored by Mario Bava, an Italian horror maven from an earlier generation, responsible for such classics as Sei donne per l'assassino (Blood and Black Lace) and Cani arrabbiati (Rabid Dogs). Argento's first noteworthy movie work was the screenplay for Qualcuno ha tradito (Every Man Is My Enemy) a heist thriller from 1967 with Elsa Martinelli. He then co-wrote one of the finest westerns ever made, Sergio Leone's C'era una volta il West (Once Upon a Time in the West) starring Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, and Charles Bronson.
As director, Argento's debut was the stylish L'Uccello dalle piume di cristallo (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage), which opens with a murder at an art gallery, then has the killer target a witness to his crime. His best films include Profondo rosso (Deep Red or The Hatchet Murders) about a witness to murder who then seeks the killer, Tenebre (Unsane) with Tony Franciosa as a murder writer on a murderous book tour, and Susperia with Jessica Harper at an elite European dance school that turns out to be a witch's coven. Not quite as good but remarkably strange, Phenomena features Jennifer Connelly communicating telepathically with insects. Argento has also made TV commercials for Fiat cars and Glad air fresheners.
His long-time lover was Italian actress Daria Nicolodi, star of Argento's Deep Red, Opera, Phenomena, and the non-Argento Macaroni with Jack Lemmon and Marcello Mastroianni. Additionally, she co-wrote Susperia and Inferno, and gave birth to Argento's daughter, actress Asia Argento -- who filmed a graphic rape scene for her father's La sindrome di Stendhal (The Stendhal Syndrome). Argento's daughter Fiore Argento is also an actress, working primarily in her father's films.
Most of Argento's films are available on video, but caution is advised: Several of his movies have been clumsily dubbed, heavily edited, or poorly transferred for release on home video in America. For the true Argento experience, watch his films in their original Italian with subtitles, or at least look for a promise on the box that the video is "complete and un-cut".
Father: Salvatore Argento (film producer)
Mother: Elda Luxardo (Brazilian fashion model)
Girlfriend: Daria Nicolodi (Italian film actress, b. 19-Jun-1950, dated 1970s-early 1990s, two daughters)
Daughter: Asia Argento (actress, b. 1975, with Nicolodi)
Daughter: Fiore Argento (actress)
Risk Factors: Vegetarian, Hepatitis
FILMOGRAPHY AS DIRECTOR
Mother of Tears (6-Sep-2007)
The Card Player (2-Jan-2004)
Phantom of the Opera (20-Nov-1998)
The Stendhal Syndrome (26-Jan-1996)
Two Evil Eyes (25-Jan-1990)
Deep Red (7-Mar-1975)
Four Flies on Grey Velvet (17-Dec-1971)
The Cat o' Nine Tails (11-Feb-1971)
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (19-Feb-1970)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Il cielo č sempre pių blu (11-Apr-1997)
Innocent Blood (25-Sep-1992)
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